israel’s attacks intensify

Israeli airstrikes kill 23 in Syria: Observatory
AFP, Nov 21 2019

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel said its warplanes carried out a “very intense” attack against Iranian forces and SAA targets in Syria Wednesday, in raids an activist group reported killed at least 23 people. The IPF said they had carried out dozens of strikes against the IRGC Quds Force and the Syrian military, in response to four rockets fired at Israel a day before. The SOHR said 23 people were killed in the strikes: 21 fighters, 16 of them non-Syrian, and two civilians. Netanyahu said in a statement:

Whoever hurts us, we will hurt him. This is what we did overnight vis-a-vis military targets of the IRGC Quds Force and Syrian military targets in Syria after a barrage of rockets was launched at Israel.

IOF spox Conricus told AFP:

It was very intense. The targets included about a dozen military sites, warehouses and command centers. The most important target was a control facility at the main international airport in Damascus. It is the main building that serves the IRGC for coordinating the logistic facilities of transport of military hardware from Iran to Syria and from Syria onward.

Tuesday, four rockets were fired at Israel from Syria, with the army blaming an “Iranian force.” Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted the rockets. Conricus said it was the sixth time Iranian forces had tried to attack Israel directly in recent years, most recently in August. The Israeli attack Wednesday began in the early hours, with a series of large explosions rocking Damascus, an AFP correspondent in the city said. SANA said Syrian anti-aircraft defenses responded to a “heavy attack” by Israeli warplanes over the capital. The IOF confirmed missiles were fired toward its jets but denied any were hit. It said:

In response to the fire, a number of Syrian aerial defense batteries were destroyed. We hold the Syrian regime responsible for the actions that take place in Syrian territory and warn them against allowing further attacks against Israel.

SANA added that the strikes were carried out from “Lebanese and Palestinian territories.” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by TASS news agency as saying:

We are going to examine the circumstances. All this is very bad. It totally contradicts international law.

The Observatory said Tuesday’s rockets were fired from positions around the Syrian capital held by groups loyal to the Damascus government.

Israeli airstrikes on Syria threaten wider Mideast war
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Nov 21 2019

The IAF carried out a major assault on Syria in the early morning hours of Wednesday, striking more than 20 targets on the outskirts of Damascus and leaving at least 23 people dead. Those killed in the air raids reportedly included SAA soldiers, allied militiamen and members of the IRGC Quds Force advisory mission sent to assist the government of Syria in its eight-year-long war against Western-backed Islamist militias. At least two civilians were killed in the attacks: a tailor named Hayoub Safad and his wife, when an IAF missile destroyed their home. Several other civilians were wounded by shrapnel, including a young girl whose home in the suburb of Qudsaya, west of the capital, was hit, SANA reported. The Israeli government cast the onslaught as retaliation for the firing of four missiles from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Syrian territory of the Golan Heights on Tuesday. Those missiles had themselves been launched in response to an Israeli attack the day before on a convoy of vehicles belonging to a Shia militia aligned with Iran in eastern Syria. The Israeli aggression in Syria came amid signs of an escalation of the Pindo campaign against Iran, which Faschingstein has targeted as a principal obstacle to its drive to assert unhindered Pindo imperialist hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East. The Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group sailed through the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday. The 21-mile-wide waterway is almost entirely in Iran’s territorial waters and is a choke point for the transit of one-fifth of the world’s oil trade and one-third of its liquefied natural gas. A series of recent incidents in close proximity to the Strait, including attacks on tankers as well as the downing of a Pindo drone in June and the ordering of Pindo retaliatory air strikes called off by Trump at the last minute, have sharpened tensions in the area. This was followed by devastating strikes on key Arabian oil facilities in September, for which the Houthis claimed responsibility, while Washington blamed them on Tehran. Trump Tuesday addressed a letter to both houses of congress informing them in what passes for compliance with the War Powers Act that another 3,000 Pindo troops are being sent into Arabia. He wrote:

The purpose of their deployment is to assure our partners, deter further Iranian provocative behavior, and bolster regional defensive capabilities. The troops will remain in Arabia as long as their presence is required.

The latest Pindo military deployment in the Middle East is part of a continuous escalation by Faschingstein since last May, when it dispatched an aircraft carrier battle group, an air strike group led by nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and additional Pindo troops to the region, supposedly in response to threats from Iran. The new deployment is one more exposure of the cynicism of Trump’s demagogic claims to be bringing Pindo troops out of the Middle East and putting an end to Faschingstein’s “endless wars.” His claim last month to be withdrawing Pindo troops from Syria, following his green-lighting of a Turkish invasion aimed at driving the Pentagon’s erstwhile allies in the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia from the Syrian-Turkish border, was reversed following a firestorm of criticism from within the Pindo political establishment as well as the Pindo military command. Several hundred Pindo troops are now deployed in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province for the stated purpose of controlling the country’s major oil fields. In addition to preventing the Damascus government from recovering Syria’s oil assets and using them for the reconstruction of a war-decimated country, the deployment is aimed at preventing Iran from consolidating its influence in the region and securing land access through Iraq to both Syria and Lebanon. Within the context of these escalating military tensions, there is no doubt that the Israeli strikes on Iranian targets inside Syria were carried out in close consultation with Pindostan. Both Faschingstein and Tel Aviv are no doubt attempting to exploit the increasing crisis confronting Iran as a result of the Pindo “maximum pressure” campaign of unilateral sanctions that amounts to an economic blockade aimed at driving the country’s oil exports down to zero, while denying it access to the world banking system. The Iranian government’s sudden raising of gasoline prices last week led to protests and violent clashes that have reportedly left over 100 dead (? – RB). The air strikes were also a manifestation of the deepening crisis within Israel itself. While the IAF has carried out hundreds of such attacks in Syria, both to hit targets associated with Iran and to provide support to the AQ-linked militias, the government has generally declined to confirm or deny responsibility. This time, however, the attacks were celebrated with an outburst of militarist bluster. Israel’s new and extreme right-wing Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said that the strikes were a message to Iran:

Everywhere you send your tentacles, we will lop them off.

The strikes on Syria come just one week after the IAF bombing of the Gaza Strip, which began with the targeted assassination of leading member of the PIJ and led to the killing of at least 34 people. An entire family of eight, including five children, ranging from three months to 13 years old, was slaughtered by an IAF missile. That round of bombings also included a strike on central Damascus in an unsuccessful attempt to kill another PIJ leader. Israel’s explosive escalation of military violence is driven in no small part by its unprecedented political crisis, with the failure to form a government apparently leading to a third election in less than one year. Benny Gantz, the former military chief of staff and leader of the Blue and White party, announced on Wednesday that he had been unable to cobble together a coalition with the Likud bloc of Netanyahu, who had previously failed to form a government following the elections held in April and September. Gantz blamed Netanyahu for the impasse, accusing him of “insisting only on the best interest of one person” and using “insults, slanders and childish videos” to sabotage his efforts. Netanyahu, who faces multiple indictments and possible prison sentences on corruption charges, has insisted that he remain prime minister, as this would preclude his prosecution and give him the power to push for immunity. He has also waged a vicious campaign against any attempt to form a coalition government with the Arab Joint List, a coalition of political parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel, claiming that it would strengthen “terrorism.” Mired in political crisis, the Israeli bourgeoisie seeks to deflect the immense social tensions within Israeli society outward, through an explosion of military violence. The same essential conditions exist within the United States itself, which is steadily escalating its war threats in the Middle East. This poisonous combination of Pindo imperialism’s drive to militarily assert its hegemony over the Middle East and the unrelenting aggression and crisis of its principal regional ally, Israel, threatens to unleash a region-wide war with potentially catastrophic global consequences.

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